The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center's (SERC) Internship Program offers undergraduate and beginning graduate students a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the fields of environmental research and public engagement. This program enables students to work on independent research projects under the direction of a SERC mentor.
Since 2001 the SERC internship program has been a National Science Foundation REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) site. With this funding, along with generous donations from the Smithsonian Women's Committee and university partnerships, we are able to provide internship opportunities to qualified students looking to further their knowledge in the natural sciences.
Interns projects span the range of research conducted at SERC, including environmental chemistry, marine and estuarine ecology, molecular ecology, and terrestrial ecology. Projects are also offered in public engagement, with opportunities in environmental education, citizen science, and science writing. Although students will become familiar with much of the research of SERC in general, individuals will devote most of their time to an independent research project. Students will have the opportunity to expand their knowledge in a selected field of study and to learn a variety of research techniques through firsthand experience. At the conclusion of the internship, student participants will be expected to present the findings of their independent projects in a formal seminar to the SERC community.
As an additional educational benefit, SERC maintains an ongoing seminar program that is designed to bring in noted outside speakers on a variety of topics in the environmental sciences. We also offer experiential field trips to the Smithsonian museums and galleries on the National Mall.